The Houston area is home to the second largest Hispanic population in the country. Latinos, therefore, are in the forefront of the rescue efforts as seen with Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, Fire Chief Samuel Pena and veteran police officer Sargent Steve Perez who died on his way to render service to Houston citizens. Then there are the countless volunteers like Pastor Hernan Castaño offering his large Hispanic congregation counseling and resource help. Castaño is senior pastor at Rios de Aceite Church in Houston that has nearly 1,000 members.
They are also heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey hell and many have lost lives, possessions and face an uncertain future.
The heavily flood impacted areas of Houston-Brazoria are home to over 2 million Latinos with forty percent of the Houston population being Hispanic. And the large Latino communities of the East End, where many of Texas’ refineries are located, are facing high levels of air toxins due to the refineries being shut down. And in Corpus Christi that is also suffering the deluge of rain and flooding from Hurricane Harvey – Latinos are the majority population. The majority of Hispanics in Corpus Christi were born in the U.S.
Houston also has a sizable undocumented immigrant population estimate at nearly 600,000. They are facing the fear of deportation and therefore hesitant to seek rescue efforts or any sort of aid by local authorities. Local authorities including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has assured all undocumented they are safe from deportation.
South Texas “was Hispanic before it was anything else,” Steve Murdock of Rice University once noted.
Many of the Latinos of the Houston area are foreign born with a majority coming from Mexico. To that fact Mexico has offered assistance to Texas, which Governor Gregg Abbott formally accepted this past Wednesday. Vehicles, boats and food is expected to arrive from Mexico this weekend.
Many Latino homeowners in Houston lack flood insurance making their recovery efforts more difficult and prolonged. According to the Washington Post analysis, only 17 percent of homeowners in the eight counties most impacted by Hurricane Harvey have flood insurance. Everyone affected by the hurricane that does not have flood insurance will have to rely on government (FEMA) grants capped at $33,300.
Early estimates put the damage of Hurricane Harvey at $30 billion with “an unusually large share of victims lacking adequate insurance.” Experts believe only 27 percent of Hurricane Harvey losses are covered by private insurance.
Texas’ people face a long and arduous task to gain normalcy in their lives. Some victims are now facing the ugly reality of returning home to assess damage while others remain in shelters for the foreseeable future.
HSN Staff Writers
HSN staff writers are a group of enthusiastic and talented creative-types that generate great story lines and write about current events with a distinctively Latino voice always respecting the audience it writes for.
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